What is Distillation? Principles and Applications

Distillation is a technique for the separation of mixtures based on differences in the conditions necessary to alter the phase of components in the mixture. This is a widely used technique in which mixtures of liquids are heated to mean components which have different boiling points into the gas phase. This gas is then condensed and cooled.

Rotary evaporators provide a means of reduced pressure distillation, where the residue is retained rather than the distillate.

Applications of Distillation

Distillation is used for a number of applications such as distilled water, kerosene, gasoline, and many other liquids. Gases may also be liquified and separated, such as nitrogen, oxygen and argon which are distilled from air.

Water from natural sources contains a broad range of minerals and other impurities, many of which are removed via distillation. Distilled water is often used when the presence of minerals could impact the effectiveness of equipment, including in steam irons.

Distillation is a part of the production process of a range of alcoholic beverages such as brandy, whiskey and rum. When plant and fruit materials ferment, ethyl alcohol in a dilute form is produced, distillation is used to purify and concentrate the ethanol.

Distillation of crude oil can produce a range of products, as each of these products has a unique boiling point. A process known as fractional distillation is used to refine oil into a range of materials.

However, distillation alone cannot remove all unwanted lipids such as fats and waxes from oil extracts. This has an impact on the quality of the end-product, leading to a reduction in potency and clarity. Rotary evaporators can be employed to winterize oils and enhance their overall quality.

Using Rotary Evaporators in Distillation Applications

Rotary evaporators are becoming more widely used for distillation applications. Distillation via rotary evaporator is faster than traditional methods as solutions are distilled under reduced pressure at a lower temperature, speeding up the process because of the larger surface area.

Using a rotary evaporator for distillation also saves space in the lab as one piece of equipment can be used for multiple applications.

Rotary evaporators also save energy over traditional distillation methods, as they do not need to heat the mixture to such high temperatures. This also reduces the degradation of temperature-sensitive components which could adversely impact the reaction.

Rotary Evaporators from Ecodyst

Ecodyst’s rotary evaporators are cutting edge solvent separation devices and range in scale from large-scale 200l rotovaps, to benchtop models. These rotovaps are more environmentally friendly as they consume less energy by by-passing cooling systems.  They are also easy to use, with no large evaporation vessels which require removal. These systems were developed to increase the efficiency of users’ experiences.

To find out more about how rotary evaporators from Ecodyst can help with the distillation applications, contact us today for more information.